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UPDATE: Worldwide Equipment plans to rebuild after devastating fire in Floyd County

By: Hillary Thornton, Erika Glover Email
By: Hillary Thornton, Erika Glover Email
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FLOYD Co., Ky. (WYMT) - UPDATE 7/3/14

Up in flames but still in business. A business fire Wednesday afternoon in Floyd County had firefighters battling flames late into the night.

On Thursday, the clean up process began at Worldwide Equipment.

The business helps stimulate the economy across Eastern Kentucky, and business owners tell us they will continue operations.

Employees spent the day picking up the pieces after fire ripped through their main equopment and parts department.

Prestonsburg Fire Chief Bobby Carpenter says, "This fire was massive."

Late Wednesday afternoon officials say the fire started in the ceiling between the first and second floors. After hours of work by more than a dozen departments ruble is all that is left.

Prestonsburg Mayor Jerry Fannin says, "It is just a terrible sight, to see a partly crumbled up building just laying there on the ground ... with a few trucks sitting out there pretty much burnt. It is just sad."

The building where this company started back in 1967 is destroyed.

Worldwide Equipment President/CEO, Terry Dotson says, "All of our people are fine, no one was hurt. It is a structure....we will tear it down and build it back as fast as we can but it is not a happy thing. It is like losing the homeplace...we have 37 locations in six states, but this was the first one. A lot of people are sad, it is kind of like being raised in grandmother's house and there's a lot of sad people this morning."

Unfortunately this process is something he says they are familiar with.

"With being in many locations we've had hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, had lightning hit and blow out a building in Western Kentucky...so we've done this before...don't like to but we will be okay."

Dotson says they will be able to take care of their customer base from other locations . They plan to move the parts department to a different building and move the service department to their Lowmansville location. Also, they eventually hope to set up a temporary location just a few miles away.

Dotson estimates about one million and a half dollars worth of parts were lost, along with all technical equipment like computers, and several trucks that were inside being serviced.

Worldwide equipment is closed Friday for the 4th of July holiday but will be open to operate as normally as possible on Monday, July 7th.

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Original Story - By: Erika Glover

Prestonsburg Fire Chief Bobby Carpenter said Wednesday evening's fire, at Worldwide Equipment's repair garage in Prestonsburg, destroyed the building.

Carpenter said the building was quickly evacuated and there were no injuries.

"There were several vehicles that were inside this repair garage," Carpenter said. "Several tractor trailer and 18-wheeler type vehicles."

Lieutenant Darrell Sparks with the Prestonsburg Fire Department said first responders dealt with hot, dangerous, and difficult conditions.

"It's probably one of the hottest fires I've been in, in a very long time," said Lieutenant Sparks.

Sparks said he was part of the second crew that responded to the fire at Worldwide Equipment.

"Two minutes after we made the decision to evacuate the building, the second floor fell," said Sparks.

Fire Chief Carpenter said he is not sure what started the fire. He also said firefighters must continue putting out hot spots before officials can learn more.

"It was a major loss," said Carpenter. "Both for worldwide equipment and a major economic loss for our community."


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